Daily Archives: June 1, 2017

Through the Bible, June 1

Reading: Daniel 1-2

Summary: Following the death of good king Josiah, the fall of Judah was rapid. Pharaoh Neco killed Josiah in route to join Assyria in battle against Babylon. This battle at Carchemish essentially ends Assyrian dominance and begins Babylon’s.  Judah places Josiah’s son Jehoahaz on the throne, but Necco, returning home from battle, replaces him with his brother Jehoiakim.  Jehoiakim only lasts until Babylon shows up and replaces him with his son, Jehoiachin.  Some of the “sons of Israel” are brought to Babylon to serve in the king’s court at this time.   Among the number taken is young Daniel.

While Jehoiachin and finally Zedekiah finish out Judah’s time as her last kings, Daniel is coming into prominence in Babylon as a notable Hebrew youth.  His interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream serves as a great prophecy of God’s coming kingdom.

Devotional Thought:

Should I Change My Mind?

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.”

That is supposed to be something Abraham Lincoln said.  It speaks as much to one’s mindset as it does to happiness.  Yes, happiness is a choice, as one’s state of mind has a far greater bearing on realities than do actual circumstances or other outside influences.

Of Daniel we read, “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself…” (Dan. 1:8).  Of Peter, Jesus said his mind was set on man’s interests rather than God’s (Matt. 16:24).  Similarly, a mind set on things above as opposed to things on earth is to be characteristic of one “raised with Christ” (Col. 3:2).  And a renewed mind is the means by which spiritual transformation transpires (Rom. 12:2).

Several questions seem appropriate here:

Have you determined to follow Jesus?

Is your mind made up to live a “self-controlled, upright, and godly” life (Titus2:12)?

By what conscious means is your mind being renewed and your life transformed?

What kind of space are you allowing in your ongoing thought processes for spiritual, God-centered ideas and truths?

If your spiritual life is weak, somehow lacking, or unsatisfactory it could well be that the very first step in the other direction is to change your mind.

June Week 1 Bible Reading Introduciton

Week 1: The Final Fall of Jerusalem and Judah from Captivity’s Perspective

June 1-7

         God’s people have been taken into captivity.  Previously, Israel had fallen to Assyria and now it was Judah’s turn to be deported to Babylon.  Judah’s departure was actually a process rather than a singular event.  It was consummated when Nebuchadnezzar led the Babylonian armies in a lengthy siege of Jerusalem and finally broke through to destroy the city and the temple.   It all began during the reign of Jehoiachin when he, along with the many nobles and princes, were taken captive (c. 609 B.C.).  A second group was taken into captivity in about 596 and finally, the city fell in 586.

Last month we traced this history of the kings and prophets of this time from the perspective of Judah and Jerusalem.  There is another side to this story and that is from the vantage point of some of those early captives in Babylon who witnessed the final days and fall of Jerusalem from afar and were then finally joined by their kinsmen in captivity.

Both Daniel and Ezekiel’s lives and prophetic careers bridge the gap from the before the fall of Jerusalem and through the captivity and even into the time of restoration following Babylon’s fall to the Medo-Persian empire.  What is unique about them is that they are writing while in captivity.

In addition to that, Jeremiah, the prophet in Jerusalem trough those final days, also wrote Lamentations in response to the destruction of the beloved city.

This week’s reading will take from these sources their accounts leading up to and including Jerusalem’s fall.

June Bible Reading Introduction

June Bible Reading Introduction

Old Testament History Ends

Captivity and Restoration

Books: Daniel, Ezekiel, Lamentations, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Old Testament history concludes with God’s people being restored to their homeland and rebuild their nation. It is of great interest to note that when given the opportunity, the majority of the Jewish nation did not return but remained in the lands where they had settled. But, many did return. And as the deportation of htejs3ws from Jerusalem and Judah had taken place in stages, so also would the return occur in stages.

Great emphasis is given in both the historical accounts and the prophetic messages of this time to the future glories of the Messianic kingdom.  It is of no small significance, that the highly symbolic New Testament book of Revelation relies heavily on the language and imagery portrayed in Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah (as well as many other Old Testament books) to convey the message of hope in the eternal kingdom of God.

This closing phase of the Old Testament’s record really does set the stage for much of what we encounter with the Jewish people in the New Testament. We find that more of them live outside of Palestine than in it. Also, there’s a greatly heightened sense of expectation for God’s work among them in sending a Messiah. Further, there’s a decidedly different attitude toward the Law and the gods of the nations, both of which had contributed so directly to their downfall and captivity.